a woman inserts an Invisalign tray into her mouth

What is Invisalign & How Does it Work?


When Invisalign became available it marked a turning point in orthodontic treatment, as it gave many people a more discreet option for straightening teeth than traditional metal wire and bracket braces. Today more than 11 million people in the U.S. have achieved beautiful straight smiles using Invisalign. Read on for everything you need to know about how Invisalign works, and if it might work for you, too.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign uses a series of custom-made alignment trays to shift teeth into straighter alignment. The clear, plastic trays are made of durable, translucent, BPA-free plastic. Each set of alignment trays is worn for a set period (generally 2+ weeks) before switching to the next set.  The series of alignment trays are created based on painless, 3-D scans your dentist will take of your teeth and mouth. These scans allow for enhanced predictability of each tooth’s movement. Your dentist will even be able to show you what your smile will look like once you complete treatment.

The alignment trays work by exerting gentle pressure on your teeth to guide them into proper positions. Each tray is designed to be slightly straighter than your teeth. When you put the trays in, the subtle pressure moves your teeth to match the alignment with the tray. 

Throughout your treatment with Invisalign, you will see your dentist regularly to confirm that your treatment plan is on track. Most patients will complete treatment with Invisalign within 18-24 months. After you’ve completed treatment, you’ll need to wear a retainer as prescribed by your dentist. 

What conditions can Invisalign correct?

Invisalign can correct many alignment issues with teeth. Common problems that can be corrected with Invisalign include:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Slanted teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Minor bite issues (overbite, crossbite, underbite)
  • Gapped teeth

Is Invisalign better than braces?

Both Invisalign and traditional braces are effective in achieving a straight smile. Though neither treatment is necessarily better than the other, Invisalign offers some clear benefits that patients love:

  • Invisalign is much more discreet because the trays are transparent
  • Invisalign trays are removable, so you can eat what you want
  • Invisalign allows for better oral hygiene as you can brush the entire tooth, and floss normally
  • Invisalign trays can be taken out if engaging in high-contact sports
  • Invisalign may straighten your teeth faster than traditional braces

Is Invisalign Right for Me?

Invisalign is best suited for older teens and adults. To be eligible for Invisalign you’ll need to meet the following requirements.

  • You have all of your teeth (no missing teeth)
  • You do not have a significant overbite, underbite, or crossbite requiring other treatment
  • You are free of gum disease and periodontal disease
  • You do not have untreated tooth decay
  • You are committed to wearing your alignment trays at least 20 hours per day
  • You are dedicated to being responsible for keeping your alignment trays safe
  • You will follow all of your dentist’s instructions
  • You’re ready for a beautiful, straight smile

Schedule a Consultation for Invisalign 

If you’re tired of gaps in your teeth, or you’re insecure about slanted or crooked teeth, schedule an Invisalign consultation at Belmont Family Dentistry by calling 617-484-1760. You may also request an appointment online.